The practice of indicating, by different types, words
and phrases which were not in the Original Text, was, it is believed, first introduced by
Sebastain Münster, of Basle, in a Latin version of the Old Testament published in 1534.
The English New Testament (published at Geneva, 1557) and the Geneva
Bible (1560) "put in that word which, lacking, made the sentence obscure, but
set it in such letters as may easily be discerned from the common text." The
example was followed and extended in the Bishops' Bible (1568, 1572), and the roman
and italic 1 types
of these Bibles (as distinguished from the black letter and roman
type of previous Bibles) were introduced into the Authorized Version (1611).
The following seem to have been the principles guiding the
translators of the Authorized Version :-
1. To supply the omissions under the Figure Ellipsis,
or what they considered to be Ellipsis.
2. To supply the words necessary to give the sense, when the
Figure Zeugma is employed.
3. Once, at least, to indicate a word or words of doubtful
Manuscript authority, 1John 2:23 (first
introduced in Cranmer's Bible-doubtless from the Vulgate). Perhaps also Judges 16:2
4. Where the English idiom differs from that of the Originals,
and requires essential words to be added, which are not necessary in the Hebrew or Greek.
For the use of italic in the Revised Version see
The use of large capital letters for certain words and phrases
originated with the Authorized Version. None of the previous or "former
translations" have them.
The revisers abandoned this practice, but have not been consistent in
the plan they substituted for it. In most of the cases they have used small capital
letters instead of the large capitals; but in three cases (Jeremiah 23:6
. Zechariah 3:8; 6:12) they have
used ordinary roman type.
The use of the large capitals by the translators of the Authorized
Version is destitute of any authority, and merely indicates the importance which they
attached to such words and phrases thus indicated.
The following is a complete list :-
Large capitals in Authorized Version. Small capitals in
Exodus 3:14. "I am that I
Exodus 3:14. "I am."
Exodus 6:3. "Jehovah."
Exodus 28:36; 39:30. "Holiness
(Revised Version "Holy") to the Lord."
Deuteronomy 28:58. "The
Lord thy God."
Psalm 68:4. "Jah."
Psalm 83:18. "Jehovah."
Isaiah 26:4. "Jehovah."
Daniel 5:25-28. "Mene,
Mene, Tekel, Upharsin," (verse 28, "Peres".)
Zechariah 14:20. "Holiness
(Revised Version "Holy") unto the Lord."
Matthew 1:21. "Jesus."
Matthew 1:25. "Jesus."
Matthew 27:37. The inscriptions on the
Cross. Also Mark 15:26. Luke 23:38. John 9:19
Luke 1:31; 2:21. "Jesus."
Acts 17:23. "To the
(Revised Version "an") unknown God."
Revelation 17:5. "Mystery,
Babylon the Great, the Mother of (Revised Version "the")
Harlots and (Revised Version "the") Abominations
of the Earth."
Revelation 19:16. "King of
Kings, and Lord of Lords."
Large capitals in Authorized Version. Small roman
letters in Revised Version.
Jeremiah 23:6. "The Lord
Zechariah 3:8. "Branch."
Zechariah 6:12. "Branch."
The word italic means relating to Italy, and is used of a kind of
type dedicated to the States of Italy, by Aldus Manutius, about the year 1500.